FRICKbits - press release

Your data can now be art on your phone

Artist created free iPhone app to help users reclaim their data and turn it into art

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Austin, Texas -- After a year where many have agonized about all the data gathered about us (e.g., clicks, searches, location, likes) and we’ve learned the meaning of metadata, an artist demonstrates the first chance for you to take back your data and make it artful. Laurie Frick has been transforming her personal data, including location, steps, sleep and weight into abstract, hand-built wall size installations for years.

This year, she teamed up with digital design company thirteen23 to build a free iPhone app to make art algorithms turn your tracking data into abstract patterns on your phone. Launching in September in the Apple store, Laurie Frick is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to draw a community of beta testers and art enthusiasts to be the first to download and try FRICKbits when it goes live.

“Art from data was a compelling idea, and we’re drawn to solving new problems in mobile technology” said Doug Cook, founder of thirteen23, “We had never seen a mathematical algorithm tackle the problem of color, shape or pattern let alone express location as hand-drawn art on the phone.”

Many websites and fitness apps gather pedometer and location data, but the output has a cold, clinical feel of infographics. Coming from an artist, this app has the characteristics of hand crafted watercolor drawings and attempts to change the way you see the data gathered about you. Out of the gate, FRICKbits uses your location data to draw the patterns of where you travel in a city, or for that matter – anywhere on the globe. “Location data is the easiest to understand, and we tend to go the same places over and over” said artist, Laurie Frick “the pattern of your movements in a city are beautiful and yet often ignored, we just don’t think about them. The repetition of travel patterns and stray movements can transform into an abstract data portrait of you.”

FRICKbits gathers occasional location data, a clever means to not have any noticeable impact on battery life and shows actual location with tiny monotone dots and brightly colored art dots on a clean white map. While the user can choose and change color palette at any time, they ‘earn’ smaller colored bits and clusters for the locations traveled most frequently. Long stretches of pattern stand in for the occasional and high-speed movements. Location data accumulates, and the pattern gathers richness and texture over time. Touch the screen and you shift back and forth from the actual map to the art rendering of your travel patterns. As for privacy, the data belongs only to the user, and it’s up to them to share it via social media, email or text. One button lets you export data or clear it at any time.

Is this the beginning of how personal data will crossover into the world of art? Self-tracking data will be the ultimate ‘data-selfie’, personal data portraits gathered over time on our phones. It’s your life, it’s your data — why not turn it into art?


Laurie Frick is a data artist from Austin, Texas who makes hand-built work from self-tracking data, and had an idea that the artistic rules and procedures were really an algorithm to turn anyone’s data into abstract patterns of art. Two years ago, she set out to make an iPhone app…and long story short, met thirteen23 and made a trade. One of the most amazing mobile technology shops in Austin, Texas got a full lobby installation based on their chat metadata, and Laurie Frick got the first iteration of the FRICKbits free iPhone app. Laurie Frick exhibits widely, and is represented by Edward Cella Gallery in Los Angeles.

thirteen23 is an award-winning design studio specializing in digital strategy, user experience design, and software development. Founded in 2006 and based in Austin, Texas, thirteen23 combines breakthrough design with cutting-edge technology to create innovative digital products for its clients. From startups to the Fortune 500, we’ve worked for some of the best, including Electronic Arts, Honeywell, Vice Media, Food Network, and Obama for America. For more information contact us at

Contact: Laurie Frick, FRICKbits Phone 512.350.5511 @FRICKbits